Yirat Shamay­im: The Awe, Rev­er­ence and Fear of God

Marc D. Stern, ed.
  • Review
By – January 9, 2012

This book, the 17th vol­ume in the Ortho­dox Forum series, pro­vides his­tor­i­cal, soci­o­log­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, edu­ca­tion­al, and halakhic insights into a sem­i­nal con­cept that lies, arguably, at the epi­cen­ter of the Jew­ish reli­gious experience. 

Among the con­tri­bu­tions are War­ren Zev Harvey’s his­tor­i­cal sur­vey of yir’at shamay­im as the virtue of obey­ing God and His com­mand­ments”; Rab­bi Aharon Lichtenstein’s some­what coun­ter­in­tu­itive chap­ter on Con­tem­po­rary Imped­i­ments to yir’at shamay­im”; Meir Solove­ichik and edi­tor Marc Stern’s con­tri­bu­tions on yir’at shamay­im in the pub­lic square”; Jack Bieler’s dis­cus­sion of yir’at shamay­im and prayer; Ken­neth Auman’s rumi­na­tions on the respon­si­bil­i­ties of pul­pit rab­bis toward incul­cat­ing yir’at shamay­im in their con­gre­gants; and arti­cles by Nathaniel Helf­got, Eri­ca Brown, and Mark Got­tlieb on var­i­ous cur­ric­u­lar and instruc­tion­al impli­ca­tions of yir’at shamay­im.

If, indeed, the begin­ning of wis­dom is the fear of God” (Psalms 111:10), the Ortho­dox Forum vol­ume on yir’at shamay­im is an excel­lent place to start wis­ing up.

Moshe Sokolow, Ph.D., is the Fanya Gottes­feld-Heller Pro­fes­sor of Jew­ish Edu­ca­tion at the Azrieli Grad­u­ate School, Yeshi­va University.

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